Some teams talk about state championships, and others dream about them.
Not so for the Center Grove softball team. The Trojans neither talk nor dream about state titles.
They expect them.
“Our goal every year is for state,” said Jordyn Rudd, a junior catcher who speaks from experience.
One of the state’s, if not the nation’s, top high school players, Rudd helped lead the Trojans to their IHSAA state-record sixth state championship in 2015. She was only a freshman.
Today, Rudd is a junior and well-steeped in the Trojans’ sterling state championship tradition. And if they accomplish their mission of winning a seventh this spring, suffice it to say Rudd will be a major reason why.
A three-year starter who put up stunning stats her first two seasons, she is producing Star Wars numbers this campaign. The top slugger in a lineup packed with firepower, she is hitting an astonishing .696 with team-high totals of 10 home runs and 29 RBIs. She also has two doubles and, as a result of her dynamic junior season, has a career batting average above 500 and 20 career home runs.
A Northwestern University recruit who verbally committed as a freshman, Rudd attributes her production to a simple source: dedication.
“I work a lot outside of practice and with the team,” she said. “I work a lot on my technique, and it’s paying off. My goal is just to go out there and hit the ball and move runners around for my team, we all take part in that, too… We all work on our hitting just to be better for the team.”
Collectively, the Trojans are hitting a staggering .433 and have scored 150 runs in 14 games. Little wonder they are, again, poised for a run for the Class 4A state championship. They are ranked No. 3 in the 4A state poll and have set the winning state championship as their sole objective.
“We’ve got a good chance of reaching state, and I think we can do it as long as we keep working,” Rudd said. “Our confidence level is high right now. We just want to keep working and getting better. That’s our goal right now.
“We believe we can win every game as long as we all work together and just keep the confidence up and our energy up.”
Center Grove has been to the state finals an IHSAA-record 12 times and reached the championship game a record 10 times. Of their six championships, five have come under the leadership of 26th-year head coach Russ Milligan, the winningest softball coach state history.
In light of that legacy, it’s easy to understand why the Trojans don’t talk about championships. They go about the business of winning them.
“That’s our goal every year,” Rudd said. “Milligan wants to win state, but we also want to. We’re doing it for our whole team.”
THE RUDD FILE
Name: Jordyn Rudd
Experience: Three-year varsity starter
Athletic background: Begin playing softball at age 9; formerly competed in gymnastics and track and field but gave up those sports to focus on softball
College plans: Is verbally committed to continue softball career at Northwestern University
Favorite TV show: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Favorite movie: “Benchwarmers”
Parents: James and Michele Rudd